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Copyright violation of 'Thailand' spoils first SEA Games gold medal celebration

Designer Suchal Chaweewan shows the designed letters "Thailand" that also appear on the sportwear of pencak silat athletes at the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam (Photo from Buk Babor Facebook account)

The good news of Thailand's first gold medal at the SEA Games in Vietnam has been overshadowed by a graphic designer who saw his design on the athletes' sport outfit without his authorisation.

The Pencak Silat Association of Thailand issued a statement on Thursday to "deeply apologise" to Suchal Chaweewan for using the letters "Thailand" designed and copyrighted by the artist without his consent.

Thailand won the first gold medal at the 31st SEA Games on Wednesday when Sobri Cheni, Abdulkarim Koolee and Adulrahim Sidek upset Indonesia in the decider of the men's semi (artistic) regu (team/trio).

While the players and association were celebrating the victory, the designer was surprised after seeing his designed letters on the back of the sport uniform the trio wore in the contest.

"I am happy with #Thaipencaksilatteam for the first gold for the Thai athletes. But what makes me sad is that I saw my designed letters of #Thailand on the team outfit in the news," Mr Suchal, 37, wrote on his Buk Babor's Facebook page on Wednesday.

"All of my designs on any products or places are subject to my authorisation," he said.

The artist said he had registered rights protection of his design items with the Department of Intellectual Property, and all were under protection by law.

His warning prompted the association and staff to come out to offer their apology.

According to the statement, the association was trying to contact the designer to seek his permission to use the designed letters in the competition. However, there was no response from him, the statement said.

Association secretary-general Chongrak Kiokaew said in Hanoi that the club had no intention to violate the copyrights and was ready to offer financial compensation to him for the blunder, according to SIAMSPORT.

All pencak silat athletes felt shocked, he said, adding the association was planning the reserve outfits, which do not bear the designed letters, for the pencak silat athletes if the artist does not allow the use of his design.

SIAMSPORT said the sportwear firm that supplied the uniform for the pencak silat association had lifted the designed letters from the internet without checking their copyright.

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